First try at ARIA role and state markup -- looking for advice

Richard Schwerdtfeger schwer at
Fri Jun 15 20:46:45 UTC 2007

Hi Anastasia,

Your timing is impeccable. We have a number of groups looking at this now.
SAP is asking and I have
a call scheduled with Freedom Scientfic next week to hash out the UI
scenarios. My response is below.

Rich Schwerdtfeger
Distinguished Engineer, SWG Accessibility Architect/Strategist
Chair, IBM Accessibility Architecture Review  Board

Anastasia Cheetham <a.cheetham at> wrote on 06/15/2007 03:33:00

> Anastasia asked:
> > > One last question, regarding the 'application' role:
> > >
> > > In our case, the grid itself *is* the lightbox application, but our
> > > understanding is that you can not have multiple roles. We could wrap
> > > the lightbox in another div that exists just to add the application
> > > role, but we're wondering if there are other options.
> Rich responded:
> > We are still working out the interaction with the ATs. I would
> > place "application" on the body tag.
> Hm... This is getting me thinking. Musing out loud...
> My understanding is that the purpose of the application role is to
> tell the AT to stop operating in 'read the text' mode and to start
> operating in 'interact with the application' mode.
> Assuming I'm right (and please correct me if I'm wrong!):
> Currently (and we expect this to be common), the lightbox is being
> used inside a tool that is inside a portal. Which part of this
> scenario is 'the application'? Is it the whole portal? My guess is
> no. Is it the tool? Tools are typically application-like things, so
> my guess is that a tool in a portal frame is an application in the
> WAI role sense of the word. Is the lightbox itself an application? It
> certainly seems to function in that sense, but if it's inside an
> application, it doesn't seem to need the role itself.
If the lightbox is inside an application then the grid does not need a
of application - think container.

> So it sounds like in this case, the application role should be
> attached to the root of the tool itself.
> Given this, whose responsibility is it to set this role? The tool
> designer?
If the tool designer knows that an application is embedded then yes.
Alernatively, if you knew enough about the container you could use
script to walk the container and set the application role. I agree,
my preference is that the tool designer should know.

> --
> Anastasia Cheetham                   a.cheetham at
> Software Designer, Fluid Project
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre / University of Toronto
>    "We are at the very beginning of time for the human race.
>     It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems.
>     But there are tens of thousands of years in the future.
>     Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we
>     can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."
>                                      -- Richard Feynman
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